American Le Mans Series Team Corvette Racing Look for GT Championship After Laguna Seca Wins

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Four-time 24 hours of Le Mans winner Jan Magnussen and teammate Antonio Garcia on the Laguna corkscrew.
Four-time 24 hours of Le Mans winner Jan Magnussen and teammate Antonio Garcia on the Laguna Seca corkscrew.
Just four races remain in the 2012 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron, and Corvette Racing looks poised to bring home the GT Championship with a strong finish.

The team made a driver change in the offseason, moving four-time 24 hours of Le Mans winner Jan Magnussen away from Oliver Gavin and the No. 4 car and into the No. 3 car, teaming with Antonio Garcia, and placing Gavin with second-year Corvette driver Tommy Milner.

"The move is working out well for both teams," Gavin said, coming off a victory with Milner at Mid-Ohio. "The decision was made to put Jan back in the No. 3 car and move Tommy over, and for a number of reasons it has worked. Jan and I are the most experienced drivers on the team, so to put Antonio with Jan made sense. Plus they are similar in size, and Tommy and I are similar in size and the experience levels match up now.
Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner sit on top of the GT Championship points standings
Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner sit on top of the GT Championship points standings

"It looked like a good decision at the start of the year and it's paying off. It's all working out very well."

The decision has the team poised to take the top two spots in the GT Championship. While the team of Magnussen and Garcia got off to a consistent start, Gavin and Milner have had their ups and downs, winning some races while running into mechanical issues at others. But the results have made for a tight points race, with Gavin and Milner sitting on top of the points standings, just 13 points ahead of third-place Magnussen and Garcia. Defending GT champions Joey Hand and Dirk Muller are just one point ahead of the No. 3 car.

"The work we've done over the winter has been great," Gavin continued. "The engine work, work with the aero and the wider body and different tires, all of those things have helped us to move up and consistently score victories. The entire crew have worked very well and we've had some good strategy and executed well."

The win at Mid-Ohio, Gavin and Milner's third of the season, was impressive, but the turning point in the season for Corvette Racing came at the third event at the historic Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, where Corvette Racing finished 1-2 with Gavin and Milner taking home the win.
One-Two Podium Finish for Corvette Racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
One-Two Podium Finish for Corvette Racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

"The last couple of years we had not had the best of luck or runs their," Gavin said. "The car has had problems at the track. We were unsure of how quick we would be, but it soon became clear to us that we could run at the front and be a real factor."

One thing Gavin and Milner need to avoid is the bad luck that has haunted them seemingly every time they get some momentum. At the Grand Prix of Mosport in Canada, a race Gavin and Magnussen dominated last year, the No. 4 car experienced transmission problems all weekend, ending the race early. As a result, the point lead isn't quite as big as Gavin and Milner would like, especially knowing they have to find a way to beat two championship combinations in Magnussen/Garcia and Hand/Muller.

"(The championship) is going to come down to being consistent and smart, knowing when to take risks. It's going to be tough. We've got a lot of unique races left, still plenty to happen. The street race in Baltimore is going to be crazy. You can't take your eye off the ball at one point. This is going to come down to someone making a mistake, whether it's by a driver or an engineer with the strategy or in the pit lane with a stop. Usually these things are shaped by a small mistake that can have big effects on the race.

"You just hope it's not you or your car. It is a human sport, and human error happens."

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